Critical issues presentations/How to supercharge bibliographies and citations using WorldCat and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) number

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Submission no. 59
Title of the submission

How to supercharge bibliographies and citations using WorldCat and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) number

Author of the submission
  • Raymond Leonard
Country of origin

United States of America


other, Technical

  • WorldCat
  • OCLC
  • Online Computer Library Center
  • bibliography
  • citations
  • citation templates
  • online archival sources
  • print sources

•Come learn how to use to discover online copies of pre-1923 books on the Internet Archive, HathiTrust, Google Books, and other archival sources. WorldCat is also a valuable tool for obtaining bibliographic information essential to creating citations for books, journal articles, DVDs, and other media.

•The nonprofit Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) "is a global library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its membership and the library community at large"¹ that was founded in 1967. The OCLC provides the WorldCat database. The OCLC number identifies a WorldCat record. Editors can use it as a citation template parameter to connect users with libraries holding print editions of a work as well as other physical and electronic media. This is particularly useful for books published before the introduction of the ISBN in 1970.

•Although the OCLC number has great use, it has drawbacks. There are often multiple records for the same edition of a publication. Fortunately, WorldCat allows the user to view associated editions and formats, although this is not a guarantee that WorldCat will list all editions and formats. I will discuss strategies for choosing the best record, and how and when to list up to three records from WorldCat.

•For post-1923 books and some journal articles, WorldCat sometimes lists online editions that have relevant snippets available from Google Books or are behind paywalls. Journal articles behind paywalls often list free abstracts and citation data. I will discuss how to include these in citations and how to identify an online source as a subscription service.

¹"About OCLC", Retrieved 2016-01-08.


Not accepted